Graham Brown-Martin is the founder and managing director of Handheld Learning Ltd a publishing, research and events organisation focussed on new learning and teaching practice.
The vision of the company is that the technologies that are becoming increasingly commonplace within the everyday lives of many people will also be used for powerful learning experiences both in and outside the traditional education environment. These technologies range from mobile phones to games consoles, low cost laptops to media players, social media platforms to media sharing networks and more in a world where learners are becoming more connected.
In an age where more people on our planet have mobile phones than don't and where mobile phones and handheld entertainment devices outsell laptop and desktop computers by 4:1 we believe there are huge opportunities to make transformational improvements in learning that will affect everyone.
The company's mission is to create platforms that enable exploration, knowledge-sharing and debate around new learning and teaching practices that step outside of the traditional frameworks prescribed for educational ICT. To achieve this goal Graham set up one of the most active online communities of thought leaders, opinion formers, innovators and practitioners working with mobile and ubiquitous technologies and since 2005 has hosted one of the largest international conferences focussed on this rapidly emerging trend in learning. The annual Handheld Learning Conference now draws an audience of nearly 1,000 people from across the globe to meet, discuss and network. The company also has a research group that has developed innovated technologies such as RedHalo.
Graham Brown-Martin’s early career included a 5 year period at Research Machines when it was a very small company in Oxford making 380Z, 480Z and Nimbus computers. He spearheaded RMs early ventures into multimedia including the Domesday Project. He then went on to form Next Technology Corporation, a pioneering company based in Cambridge developing new technologies based around CD-ROM for many well known computer manufacturers including Apple, Sun, Acorn, Philips and Intel. It was during this time that the firm won one of the first SMART awards (1988) to develop a handheld computer for children. Several patents were awarded to the company which was eventually acquired by Philips Electronics.
Graham Brown-Martin then went on to form Electronic Sound & Pictures (ESP), building bridges between educational and entertainment software. An acquisition by Virgin Interactive Entertainment oriented the company towards the entertainment industry. Utilizing technologies developed at Next, ESP was renamed EXP and re-launched as the world’s first interactive music label working with artists as diverse as Peter Gabriel, Nine Inch Nails, The Orb, The Grid, The Shamen and Depeche Mode.
After Virgin Interactive was sold to Viacom Graham Brown-Martin left to form an art/technology unit with Buggy G Riphead, visual collaborator with the Future Sound of London. During this period Buggy and Graham Brown-Martin directed several music videos and short films, and designed the ship’s computer for the New Line Cinema feature film “Lost In Space”.
Graham Brown-Martin then took the helm of Digital Arts, a Soho-based animation company and during the dot-com boom period took the company from 5 to 125 people providing television to Internet based projects for clients such as Volkswagon, Swiss Re, Virgin and EMI. The company also acted as business incubator and developed a new online brand called Ammo City, which at the time was one of the most successful alternative news and entertainment networks.
After the bust, Graham Brown-Martin and his family spent a two-year period traveling and consulting, working on a number of projects ranging from business rescue to publishing to media and to digital divide, in regions including Australia, China, West Africa, New York and the Caribbean.
During his entire career Graham Brown-Martin has embraced and developed software for handheld computers, and upon his return from overseas he decided that the moment was right to pursue his original vision of mobile learning.